U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, according to a new study forthcoming in the journal Reproductive Health.
The study examined publicly accessible data on birth rates,
conservative religious beliefs, income, and abortion rates in the U.S.,
aggregated at the state level. Data on teen birth rates and abortion
originated from the Center for Disease Control; on income, from the
U.S. Bureau of the Census, and on religious beliefs, from the U.S.
Religious Landscape Survey carried out by the Pew Forum on Religion and
- Increased religiosity in residents of states in the U.S. strongly
predicted a higher teen birth rate.
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- Religiosity correlated negatively with median household income, and income correlated negatively with teen birth rate. But the correlation between religiosity and teen birth rate
remained highly significant even when controlling for income.
- Abortion rate
correlated negatively with religiosity. However,
the partial correlation between teen birth rate and religiosity
remained high and significant when controlling for abortion rate and when controlling for both
abortion rate and income.
The study’s authors conclude:
relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such
religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance)
may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn’t successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise.
topped the list for conservative religious beliefs and teen birth
rates, according to the study results.
ACLU Acts to Preserve Access to Reproductive Health Services in Kentucky
The Kentucky Post reports that the ACLU has filed a complaint to help low-income and uninsured
patients in Northern Kentucky receive certain reproductive services.
Northern Kentucky, low-income or uninsured patients can receive family
planning services like birth control at a clinic thanks to Title Ten, a
federal government grant. But access to such services has been declining over the past year in this region of the state due to the merger of St. Luke hospitals with St. Elizabeth hospitals. St. Lukes has been the largest provider for the health department, but when the two merged, services were eliminated since St. Elizabeth is a Catholic hospital.
In response, the ACLU suit asks that:
"[T]he Cabinet of Health and Family Services…conduct a
hearing into the unlawful termination of services at the hospital and
for St. Luke Hospitals to fully restore access to reproductive health
services in Northern Kentucky," said Derek Selznick, an ACLU Attorney
based out of Louisville, Ky.
In the meantime, the health
department is trying to work with hospitals outside of Northern
Kentucky to allow the procedures to take place. Deals are reportedly close to final with Christ Hospital in Mt. Auburn
and Georgetown Hospital in Georgetown, Ky.
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